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Alonso: If I win F1 2010 title, I'll deserve it
10 September 2010
Faced with a barrage of media questions on the topic of the FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) verdict on the Ferrari Hockenheim team orders row, double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso remained indignant on the eve of the 2010 Italian Grand Prix at Monza this weekend, contending that if he clinches the crown for a third time this year, it will be because he deserves it.
Following its 'extraordinary meeting' on Wednesday of this week, the WMSC decreed that whilst it did believe Ferrari and drivers Alonso and Felipe Massa had broken the rule banning team orders in the top flight with their late-race switch of positions in the German Grand Prix in July to the Spaniard's benefit, there was insufficient evidence to fully prove as much and that 'inconsistencies' in the application of the regulation in recent years made it infeasible to penalise the Scuderia any further.
That has led some to surmise that should Alonso go on to lift the laurels this season by less than the seven points he unjustly inherited from Massa at Hockenheim, then it will be a hollow triumph. Not so, the Oviedo native maintains.
“We were already very concentrated on Monza,” he mused in the Thursday press conference ahead of this weekend's competitive action. “I think we've talked too much [about Hockenheim]. All the August break we talked about the Germany incident. I'm happy to see that the FIA will go deep into the rules and try to clarify if there is anything that is not completely clear, and like this we will all be clearer about everything.
“The decision was something that we were waiting for, and we were ready to respect whatever it was and remain calm. The drivers did not play a big role in the hearing. Nothing changed for us and we respected the decision. It's something that is in the past for us. Now we're completely focussed on the performance of the car and trying to be on the podium, trying to win races.
“For sure, every championship you start or every first race you arrive at in a new season you want to become champion at the end, and if you cannot arrive at that goal, for sure it's a disappointment for yourself and for the team because you've been preparing the championship towards victory at the end – but I think the words failure or disaster or those sorts of things are a little bit too extreme.
“We are in a very competitive sport, we know our opponents are very strong as well, very competitive and the champion at the end is the one that deserves it most. If we are not champions, it's because we didn't do enough, so let's wait and see what happens – but this first season at Ferrari, so far, has been incredible. It has been the best of my life and I'm enjoying it. I'm a super-happy man, so we will see what happens in the end.”
Batting off a series of suggestions that if he does go on to claim 2010 glory, it will not mean as much as his previous two world championships in 2005 and 2006 because it will have been partly won in a Paris courtroom rather than out on the race track, Alonso remains adamant that whoever emerges on top come season's end will fully merit being there.
“When you win the title, you win the title,” the 29-year-old asserted. “I think that whoever is first at the end is [first] because they have more points than the others. This is the way it has been throughout the history of F1 and other sports as well – in football, in the Premier League, in tennis...”
A strong performance in the Italian Grand Prix could well be pivotal to Alonso's hopes – or rather, a bad showing like his ultimately point-less outing in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps a fortnight ago might just finish them off. Whilst conceding that his first appearance in scarlet in front of the adoring tifosi at Monza is likely to be an emotional one, the 23-time race-winner admits that his and his team's chances to claw back ground on Red Bull Racing rivals Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel and McLaren-Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button are beginning to run out.
“It's a normal grand prix for us,” he stated. “Obviously in the team or in the garage, when you are with the mechanics or engineers there is a very good atmosphere here. Some of them bring family to the grandstands or some friends. They really want to do well here, because of being in Italy, so for sure I think inside the team it's a special grand prix and hopefully we can do well to make everybody happy.
“I think we should be competitive here. Spa didn't get us what we expected; the performance was not as good as we wanted obviously, so we've made some changes, we've made some analysis of what happened at Spa and I think we've understood some of the problems and we are arriving here with a better package suited to Monza. I think we've been aggressive in more-or-less every race in the last part of the championship. [Since] halfway through the season we've been attacking the races and trying to be on the podium with a more aggressive approach, and here will be the same.
“Before Spa, we were holding a very small difference [to the championship leader], a small gap and then after one race the gap did increase – but this can change very quickly, race-by-race. As we have seen this year with the new points system, it can change really quickly. Normally in the championship we have seen two, maximum three guys fighting in the past. This year, with five or six guys at the front, you can really easily be first or sixth or seventh; you can lose a win, many points, if you do [badly].
“Our aim is to do six races at the top level, the best we can, and then we will see what we can do at the end. Obviously the less races to the end of the championship, the more problems you have if you have a bad weekend, so maybe not the last but one of our last chances to really recover some good points will come here or in Singapore.
“There are still six races to go and I am still confident that if we are on the podium for all six and we win some of them, we can very possibly be a contender in the last race. We are still more-or-less calm about our chances but, knowing that Monza is important, Singapore as well, another DNF or another problem in a race will maybe be our last chance or our 'bye-bye' to the championship.”